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  • Writer's pictureYong Kang TCM

Breaking Free from Frozen Shoulder with TCM Techniques

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful, making it difficult to move the arm. The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not well understood, but it is often associated with injury, overuse, surgery, or medical conditions such as diabetes. Symptoms include gradually worsening pain and loss of motion in the shoulder, and it can take several months to several years for the condition to resolve. Treatment may include physical therapy, pain management, or in severe cases, surgery.


The symptoms of frozen shoulder typically develop gradually over time and can include:
  1. Pain: Shoulder pain that can range from a dull ache to severe pain, especially when moving the arm.

  2. Stiffness: Decreased range of motion in the shoulder, making it difficult to move the arm in certain directions.

  3. Limited mobility: Difficulty performing daily activities such as dressing, reaching overhead, or even sleeping.

  4. Swelling: Mild swelling in the shoulder may be present.

  5. Grinding or creaking sound: A creaking or grinding sound may be heard when moving the shoulder.

*In some cases, frozen shoulders can also cause weakness in the affected arm and decreased hand dexterity. The symptoms of frozen shoulder can vary in severity and duration, and it is important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent shoulder pain or limited mobility.


Frozen shoulders can significantly affect daily life. It can make common activities such as dressing, reaching overhead, or even sleeping difficult or painful. The reduction in range of motion can also make it difficult to perform work tasks or engage in recreational activities. In severe cases, frozen shoulders can cause disability and reduce overall quality of life. It is important to seek proper treatment and follow a rehabilitation program to help manage the symptoms and improve shoulder function.


Factors that increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder:
  1. Age: Frozen shoulder is more common in people between the ages of 40 and 60.

  2. Gender: Women are more likely to develop frozen shoulders than men.

  3. Medical conditions: People with medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, or Parkinson's disease have a higher risk of developing frozen shoulders.

  4. Immobility: Shoulders that have been immobilized for a prolonged period of time, such as after a fracture or surgery, are at higher risk.

  5. Injury: Shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff tear, can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulders.

  6. Surgery: Shoulders that have undergone surgery, such as a mastectomy, have a higher risk of developing frozen shoulders.

  7. Systemic diseases: People with autoimmune or connective tissue diseases may also be at higher risk of developing frozen shoulders.


Ways to release frozen shoulder:
  • Acupuncture: Help in reducing pain improve circulation, stimulating the nervous system, etc.

  • Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT): AWT can break up the scar tissue, allowing for improved range of motion.

  • Surgery: In severe cases of frozen shoulder, surgery may be necessary to relieve the symptoms.

  • Stretching and range of motion exercises: Gentle stretching and range of motion exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce pain.

  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage pain. In some cases, prescription pain medication or a cortisone injection may be recommended.


We would love to connect with you and share information about TCM. If you're interested in learning more and being part of a supportive community, we invite you to join our group. This group is a great place to ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with others who are on a similar journey. We hope to see you there soon!



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